Silvertip sharkALS

Carcharhinus albimarginatus

Carcharhinus albimarginatus ventral head
Car.alb upper and lower teeth

Characteristic features:

  • First dorsal, pectoral, pelvic and caudal fins with distinct white tips
  • Interdorsal ridge present
  • Apex of first dorsal fin pointed or narrowly rounded
  • Snout rather long and parabolic
  • Upper teeth triangular, cusps oblique, edges distinctly notched and serrated
  • Lower teeth serrated but more slender and erect than uppers

Colour:

Dorsal surfaces bronze, becoming brownish or greyish after death. First dorsal, pectoral, pelvic and caudal fins with distinct white tips. Second dorsal, anal and upper pelvic fins sometimes dusky. Ventral surfaces almost white.

Size:

Maximum size up to ~300 cm TL; birth size 63–81 cm TL.

Distribution:

Widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific, from south-eastern Africa to Central America.

Habitat:

An inshore and offshore pelagic shark, rather than oceanic, occurring throughout the water column. Found from the surface to depths of at least 800 meters.

Biology:

Feeds on a variety of pelagic and demersal fish. Found to make relatively localised movements, with most sharks recaptured less than 2 km from tagging site. Important for dive tourism in some areas, including Papua New Guinea. Length at maturity is 160–199 cm TL and 160–180 for females and males respectively. Age at maturity is around 14.8 and 10.5 for females and males respectively. Reproductive mode is viviparous with yolk-sac placenta. Females give birth every second year to 1–11 (usually 5–6) pups, after a gestation period of 12 months. Maximum age of Papua New Guinea populations is 18 years for both sexes.

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught irregularly by shark and tuna longline and tuna gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins (high value in adults), meat, skin and cartilage.

Similar species:

Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
Grey reef shark
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
Similar in size and morphology to Carcharhinus albimarginatus, which can also have white-tipped first dorsal fin, but differs in having the broad black caudal fin posterior margin which is diagnostic for that species (vs. no broad black caudal fin posterior margin).

External links:

FishBase
The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM